Fans of the sound of Hip Hop’s 80s and 90s should be on the look out for a new label out of Milwaukee, Dope Folks Records. They are entering the game, as their website states, “specializing in rare and unreleased Hip Hop from the Golden Era”. They have made an impressive debut with the highly under-appreciated “Turntable Scientist” EP +3 Vinyl that is limited to a 300 piece pressing! As the record goes, this is “For Those Who Slept”…
“Turntable Scientist” EP originally dropped in ’93 on Phatrakz Recordz
and is pretty much the blueprint of bugged out “Hip Hop Spellings”, which is evident in the label name to nearly every song title.
Mixmasta “D” had already made some noise in the game as the DJ for The Bizzie Boyz (the group where MC/Producer Ski of Original Flavor and most notably Roc-A-Blok fame got his start).
On the EP, Mixmasta “D” takes top billing on the production, cuts, & MCing. The production is filled with classic choppy drums, layered with a nice assortment of melodies, hi-pitch shrieks, and piercing horns. As for the lyrics, I can’t even front, I didn’t even realize initially that Mixmasta “D” was laying it down on the mic as well! He does a great job with a fluid flow and playful but aggressive punchlines. To help paint the picture, he would have fit perfectly rhyming along-side Ski & T Strong on the “Beyond Flavor” album.
Although Mixmasta “D” has the skills to hold it down on his own, “Strate Phrum Da Krate Part II” pairs him up with his partner, Flipsyde, who also does some background vocals and hooks on the EP. The two MCs are most effective when kicking it back-n-forth with some nicely done roll-of-the-tongue stylings. I really love the scratching style on this, it’s somewhat chaotic but still very concise. The biggest mystery is where can I find Part I?!?
If you are lucky enough to own the original pressing, this repressing is still a must have due to the three bonus tracks; “Da Weekend”, “Scooby Doo Wah Wah Wah”, & “Do Watcha Do Best”. “Da Weekend” is self explanatory, over some “Impeach The President” drums he drops jewels on a pretty perfect weekend; rocking a show, playing some basketball, hanging out the mall, slanging mixtapes, buying some new music, hooking up with the ladies, and kicking it at a party. “Scooby Doo Wah Wah Wah” has a jazzed out vibe, but the rhyming is still on the battle, showing skills tip. “Do Watcha Do Best” is where Mixmasta "D" truly solidifies his claim as the “Turntable Scientist”. I’m assuming this song is older than the rest of the stuff here, due to the sound of it and the lyric references to the Bizzie Boyz. The verses are solid but the highlight is definitely the variety of turntable techniques with blends, cuts, and other experiments.
On the other hand, if you pick up this excellent reissue, that doesn’t eliminate the need for the original. There you are treated to instrumentals to all the original EP tracks as well as a few radio versions as well.
The biggest let down, or better yet Mis-Step, due to the title, is there isn’t as much Turntable Science as one might expect. Particularly frustrating being that the few times he does showcase those skills they are premium quality. All in all, Mixmasta “D” is an exceptionally talented individual, utilizing all three abilities (DJing, Production, & MCing) to a level competing with some of the best of the time period. His output on this alone shows his dedication & drive to master the artforms. Makes me wonder, what other treats he might have locked in the vaults… He’s still at in this music game too so reach out to the man himself and give him his props: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570355971&v=info
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-Written By Kevin Beacham